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Friday, February 3rd, 2023

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New York Cuffs & Collars – March 20th, 2015

Guide without a fishing license
(Franklin County)

ECO James Cranker was on boat patrol on Middle Saranac Lake checking to ensure fisherman were not targeting bass before the season opener. A vessel was approached with the letters “PV” on the bow, indicating a “public vessel.” The boat operator identified himself as a New York state licensed guide and the two other occupants were his clients, nonresidents who had valid fishing licenses. Cranker asked the guide for his guide’s license and fishing license, and the guide responded that he was not carrying either document or his guide’s badge.  After some searching, he found a copy of his laminated guide’s license card, but no badge and he stated he had left his fishing license back with his gear at his shop. Cranker issued him a ticket for failure to display his issued badge, as required. Cranker then queried the DECALS system and checked the status of his fishing license and learned he purchased his fishing license six hours after Cranker had checked him. Therefore, he did not possess a valid fishing license at the time he was guiding. Cranker delivered a second ticket to him for guiding without a valid fishing license. The defendant pleaded guilty and paid $100 in fines and surcharges.

Rock to the rescue
(Washington County) 

ECO Brian Toth assisted Lts. Bramlage and Ruckert with a bear rescue in the town of Greenwich, where there was a small zoo that could not stay open. There were six black bears living in the zoo that needed a new home or they would be euthanized. Thanks to the efforts of Hannah Shaw and Rock to the Rescue, a new home had been found. Rock to the Rescue is a charitable organization founded by members of the bands Styx and REO Speedwagon. The new home was provided by an animal rescue organization – Lions, Tigers, and Bears from California. Lions, Tigers, and Bears had driven its state-of-the-art animal trailer across the country. The bears were coaxed into cages for the trip west. Once in the cages, they were tranquilized and then examined by a veterinarian. They were then loaded into the trailer for their long trip west. The officers provided site security during the day-long process of examining and loading the bears. Considering the difficulties of the undertaking, all the organizations involved should feel proud of the part they played and the tremendous success of the rescue.

Unprepared fisherman
(St. Lawrence County)

ECO Scott Atwood conducted a boat patrol on Cranberry Lake, checking vessels for fishermen. After checking two vessels, he observed a third vessel with three fishermen on it. Atwood observed the fishermen for a while and then conducted a check. Upon approaching the vessel he observed a stringer of bass hanging from the boat and could see that several of them appeared to be undersized. Atwood asked the men if they knew the size limit and one of the fishermen replied, “10 inches.” Atwood advised them the size limit was actually 12 inches for this body of water. Upon checking the fish, it was determined three out of seven bass were under the legal size. A vessel inspection was also conducted. It was determined that the vessel being operated had not been registered since 1998 and that there were not enough life jackets for everyone on board. Two other navigation law violations for no fire extinguisher and no sounding device were also noted. Tickets were issued to the fishermen for taking undersized bass, insufficient number of personal flotation devices, and operation of an unregistered vessel. The operator received verbal warnings for his remaining navigation law violations.

Never lie to the ECO
(St. Lawrence County)

ECO Troy Basford was patrolling in the town of Massena for fishing enforcement when he noticed a vehicle parked beside a bridge. Knowing that this was a popular fishing spot, Basford went to the other side of the bridge and, using his binoculars, scanned the opposite bank of the river. It was then that he noticed three individuals fishing. None of the fishermen was catching anything, so Basford went over to check their fishing licenses and any possible fish. Upon request, two of the individuals produced valid licenses with the third stating, “I wasn’t fishing.” It was then that Basford informed that person that he had been watching everyone fish for about 10 minutes and asked the subject if he recalled almost falling into the water when he cast his line out, while slipping on the rock a few minutes earlier. The individual stated, “I guess you were watching me.” A ticket was issued to the individual for fishing without a license and the subject apologized to the officer for not telling the truth.

Fish poacher not a friend
(St. Lawrence County)

ECO Canary received multiple reports that a man and members of his family were keeping over their limit of fish and selling them locally to a fish buyer. The reports stated that the man was bragging that he would never be caught and if he was, he knew the local warden well enough he wouldn’t get in trouble. Concerned sportsmen reported that he was using coolers big enough to carry the large volume of fish he was taking. Canary worked the investigation for over a week with no results. One evening he observed the subject’s boat on Black Lake with three people onboard; they were pulling in one fish after another. He positioned himself along a creek where he knew the boat would return. While he waited, a few sportsmen stopped and told him about the vessel and the poachers. Night was falling when Canary heard the boat returning, and he waited until the last moment to step out of the brush and ordered the boat to shore. He went through the boat and asked how many fish were onboard. The man stated there were 130 fish and that they kept careful count, and tried to change the subject. Canary took the cooler and began his count. In all there were 203 fish – 53 over their limit. he man, his wife, and father were ticketed, and will face a total of $750 in fines if found guilty. 

Small-game enforcement
(Oneida County)

ECO Chrisman Starczek received a call from Deputy Marshall from the Oneida County’s Sheriff’s Department, who stated that he was on a neighbor dispute complaint and found one of the individuals was in possession of a baby fox. Starczek arrived and interviewed the subject who possessed the fox earlier that day before the fox was picked up. He stated that the fox belonged to his boss. Later in the week Starczek was able to meet up with the boss, who stated that he had paperwork on the fox. He stated that the fox was a farm raised silver fox and that he was allowed to possess it. Starczek checked out the paperwork, which was not sufficient and also discovered that it was not a silver fox, but a native gray fox. Starczek issued the man one ticket for illegally possessing protected wildlife and the baby fox was turned over to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.

Dead fish float
(Lewis County)

ECOs Steven Bartoszewski and Alan Brassard were conducting a boat patrol on Lake Bonaparte. The officers were checking vessels for fishing and navigation law violations. While approaching one fishing vessel, the officers observed a man and a woman actively fishing. As they approached the boat they saw the male grab a five-gallon pail, and Brassard yelled out, “Do not dump that pail!” The violator did not heed the request and dumped his illegal catch overboard. When the officers got next to the boat, they found 15 bluegills still floating in the water. A subsequent check of fish still on board revealed 104 more bluegills. Between the two individuals, only 100 bluegill could have legally been kept. Although the poacher thought he could quickly dump the extra fish overboard before being caught, he failed to realize that dead fish float. The officers issued the pair a ticket for over the limit bluegill and continued their patrol of the lake. 

Seven pounds of furry fury
(Broome County)

ECOs Eric Templeton and Andy McCormick responded to the report of a bear cub wandering an area in the town of Windsor for several days by itself. No mother bear had been observed by callers for a couple of days. The officers arrived and searched the ditch along the road near where it was last sighted and eventually found the bear moving in the tall grass along the ditch. Valiant efforts by the officers to catch the cub ensued, including climbing a tree with a net, thrashing through tall grass, and eventually cornering it in the ditch where McCormick netted it. Templeton put on protective gloves to transfer the cub out of the net into a pet carrier as it fought back impressively, painfully biting and clawing with all seven pounds of its might. The ECOs transported the cub to a wildlife rehabilitator in Oswego County.    

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